I Interviewed Harry Shum Jr. And Jessica Rothe About 'All My Life' And It'll Break Your Heart In The Best Way
Start writing a post
Entertainment

I Interviewed Harry Shum Jr. And Jessica Rothe About 'All My Life' And It'll Break Your Heart In The Best Way

The stars of this movie talk about the reality of cinematic representation and star-crossed relationships.

36734
I Interviewed Harry Shum Jr. And Jessica Rothe About 'All My Life' And It'll Break Your Heart In The Best Way
Universal Pictures

"All My Life" is not your typical romance blockbuster. Although co-stars Jessica Rothe and Harry Shum Jr. acted in hits such as "Happy Death Day" and "Crazy Rich Asians," respectively, the two decided to try an unglamorous take on unconditional love during a time when we needed it most.

Directed by Marc Meyers, All My Life is a drama about a young couple, Jennifer Carter (Jessica Rothe) and Solomon Chau (Harry Shum Jr.), choosing monogamy despite imminent tragedy.

After enjoying an early screening of the film, I spoke with Jessica Rothe and Harry Shum Jr. during a newspaper roundtable interview. The two Zoomed in and answered inquiries with an appropriate air of solemnity, given the emotional nature of the film.

The tale begins just like most other rom coms: boy meets girl, they fall in love, boy proposes to girl, etc. However, as the couple plans their wedding, the film takes a heartbreaking turn when Solomon receives a terminal cancer diagnosis. Nevertheless, Jennifer resolves to marry him regardless of the shortened time they have together. With financial and emotional assistance from friends and strangers, Solomon and Jennifer manage to tie the knot.

Universal Pictures

Coming out during an age rife with illness and grief, this film makes an opportune statement about the necessity of sharing in suffering, said Rothe.

"We are so much stronger when we band together and lead with love for other people - especially in this year of heartache and isolation, the film is very timely," Rothe said. "I hope that people can find solace in it and have compassion for themselves and other people."

The "Glee" actor echoed his counterpart's personal connection to the hardship.

"This year we stopped taking little things for granted, like just hugging someone," Shum Jr. said. "After finishing the film, it was really emotional and took me a bit to get out of that headspace."

One extraordinary aspect of "All My Life" is that the film is based on the true story of an ordinary Canadian couple. The widowed real-life Carter was keenly involved in the filmmaking process. In a letter released with the "All My Life" trailer, Carter said it was a privilege to share her and Chau's story with the world. As the real-life inspiration for the story, Carter shared her stories, pictures, and videos with the stars of the movie but permitted the actors to make the narrative their own.

Universal Pictures

"Jen gave us freedom as performers to put a lot of ourselves into it," Shum Jr. said.

At first glance, "All My Life" seems to join the ranks of a type of film Hollywood Reporter calls, "a cancer-romancer," like "The Fault in Our Stars" and "A Walk to Remember." But, the stars argued, the story of Solomon and Jennifer brings a new nuance to the trope.

"Our film has a healthy balance of different perspectives, from how the caretaker feels and how the person with cancer feels," Shum Jr. said. "A lot of times films just focus on cancer, but I think that's what makes us unique from the others."

Another distinctive attribute of this story is its BIPOC representation — in this case, Asian-American portrayal — into the cultural landscape of film. A recent study by USC showed Asian-Americans representing only 1% of all leading roles in Hollywood. But Shum Jr. said he views this role as a steady step toward equity.

"I'm honored but also, I'd be lying if I didn't say it's about damn time," Shum Jr. said. "It's important we start learning about the history of why we have to celebrate moving forward as a human race. It's important for us to keep telling different stories of faces that have been erased. I hope that it continues more for more people and they can see themselves on screen as characters that are complex. I'm grateful to be in this position and I hope it doesn't stop here."

Universal Pictures

Just like "All My Life's" representation, the story is complex, contended Rothe.

""All My Life" explores illness in a more three dimensional and layered way than other stories," Rothe said. "While it's understandable for a lot of films that deal with cancer to feel depressing and bleak, our movie has a message of hope."

The unique positivity in peril is due, in part, to the actors' natural chemistry, which was harnessed by improvisation on set, according to Rothe.

"Our director encouraged us to let scenes breathe and to find the improvisation for little moments that weren't in the script that we could add inside jokes and ways to lift each other out of the moments that got particularly heavy," Rothe said.

At the end of the film, Jennifer expresses that the average life span is 27,375 days, but it's only the days where something special happens that we remember. She and Solomon attempt to squeeze a lifetime's worth of memories into the days they have together. The greatest rebellion is choosing to hope when life does not give you a reason to, said Rothe on "All My Life's" optimism.

Universal Pictures

"Hopefully in 2021, we can all travel and go to parties and see all of our loved ones and do all of the things that normally you think of when you think of living life to its fullest but I think that you can live your life to its fullest in some small, intimate ways as well," Rothe said.

The film is available in select theaters and on-demand on December 23.

Report this Content
Health and Wellness

Exposing Kids To Nature Is The Best Way To Get Their Creative Juices Flowing

Constantly introducing young children to the magical works of nature will further increase the willingness to engage in playful activities as well as broaden their interactions with their peers

1264841

Whenever you are feeling low and anxious, just simply GO OUTSIDE and embrace nature! According to a new research study published in Frontiers in Psychology, being connected to nature and physically touching animals and flowers enable children to be happier and altruistic in nature. Not only does nature exert a bountiful force on adults, but it also serves as a therapeutic antidote to children, especially during their developmental years.

Keep Reading... Show less
Health and Wellness

5 Simple Ways To Give Yourself Grace, Especially When Life Gets Hard

Grace begins with a simple awareness of who we are and who we are becoming.

792004
Photo by Brooke Cagle on Unsplash

If there's one thing I'm absolutely terrible at, it's giving myself grace. I'm easily my own worst critic in almost everything that I do. I'm a raging perfectionist, and I have unrealistic expectations for myself at times. I can remember simple errors I made years ago, and I still hold on to them. The biggest thing I'm trying to work on is giving myself grace. I've realized that when I don't give myself grace, I miss out on being human. Even more so, I've realized that in order to give grace to others, I need to learn how to give grace to myself, too. So often, we let perfection dominate our lives without even realizing it. I've decided to change that in my own life, and I hope you'll consider doing that, too. Grace begins with a simple awareness of who we are and who we're becoming. As you read through these five affirmations and ways to give yourself grace, I hope you'll take them in. Read them. Write them down. Think about them. Most of all, I hope you'll use them to encourage yourself and realize that you are never alone and you always have the power to change your story.

Keep Reading... Show less
Entertainment

Breaking Down The Beginning, Middle, And End of Netflix's Newest 'To All The Boys' Movie

Noah Centineo and Lana Condor are back with the third and final installment of the "To All The Boys I've Loved Before" series

783871
Netflix

Were all teenagers and twenty-somethings bingeing the latest "To All The Boys: Always and Forever" last night with all of their friends on their basement TV? Nope? Just me? Oh, how I doubt that.

I have been excited for this movie ever since I saw the NYC skyline in the trailer that was released earlier this year. I'm a sucker for any movie or TV show that takes place in the Big Apple.

Keep Reading... Show less
Lifestyle

4 Ways To Own Your Story, Because Every Bit Of It Is Worth Celebrating

I hope that you don't let your current chapter stop you from pursuing the rest of your story.

506564
Photo by Manny Moreno on Unsplash

Every single one of us has a story.

I don't say that to be cliché. I don't say that to give you a false sense of encouragement. I say that to be honest. I say that to be real.

Keep Reading... Show less
Politics and Activism

How Young Feminists Can Understand And Subvert The Internalized Male Gaze

Women's self-commodification, applied through oppression and permission, is an elusive yet sexist characteristic of a laissez-faire society, where women solely exist to be consumed. (P.S. justice for Megan Fox)

315339
Paramount Pictures

Within various theories of social science and visual media, academics present the male gaze as a nebulous idea during their headache-inducing meta-discussions. However, the internalized male gaze is a reality, which is present to most people who identify as women. As we mature, we experience realizations of the perpetual male gaze.

Keep Reading... Show less
Lifestyle

It's Important To Remind Yourself To Be Open-Minded And Embrace All Life Has To Offer

Why should you be open-minded when it is so easy to be close-minded?

450301

Open-mindedness. It is something we all need a reminder of some days. Whether it's in regards to politics, religion, everyday life, or rarities in life, it is crucial to be open-minded. I want to encourage everyone to look at something with an unbiased and unfazed point of view. I oftentimes struggle with this myself.

Keep Reading... Show less
Swoon

14 Last Minute Valentine's Day Gifts Your S.O. Will Love

If they love you, they're not going to care if you didn't get them some expensive diamond necklace or Rolex watch; they just want you.

304671

Let me preface this by saying I am not a bad girlfriend.

I am simply a forgetful one.

Keep Reading... Show less
Student Life

10 Helpful Tips For College Students Taking Online Courses This Semester

Here are several ways to easily pass an online course.

205171
Photo by Vlada Karpovich on Pexels

With spring semester starting, many college students are looking to take courses for the semester. With the pandemic still ongoing, many students are likely looking for the option to take online courses.

Online courses at one time may have seemed like a last minute option for many students, but with the pandemic, they have become more necessary. Online courses can be very different from taking an on-campus course. You may be wondering what the best way to successfully complete an online course is. So, here are 10 helpful tips for any student who is planning on taking online courses this semester!

Keep Reading... Show less
Facebook Comments